Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary

Konstantin Levin recalls blushing when Stepan Arkadyevitch asked him why he came to town, and that was because he could not tell him the truth: he had come to town to make Kitty Shtcherbatsky an offer. The Levins and the Shtcherbatskys are old, noble Moscow families, and the young people of both families grew up together. Levin prepared for and entered university with Prince Shtcherbatsky, the brother of Dolly and Kitty. In those days, Levin was often in their home and was much in love with the entire family. His mother and father had died and his only sister was much older, so it was in this household that Levin learned what an “old, noble, cultivated, and honorable” family was.

Because of that, Levin has always seen the family in the most positive and poetic way; in his eyes they were without flaw. The ladies were all accomplished in languages, literature, music, drawing, and dance; and, though he understood little about such things, he was sure everything about them was good and loved them even more for their mystery to him.

As a university student, Levin had been most in love with Dolly, but she was soon married to Oblonsky. Next he loved the second daughter, Natalia, but she was married to a diplomat. The youngest daughter, Kitty, was still a child when Levin left the university. The Prince went into the navy and was drowned, and Levin’s relationship with the Shtcherbatskys became more distant. This winter, after a year in the country, Levin came to Moscow and saw the family again; he finally realized which of the daughters he was destined to love.

It seems as if would be a simple thing, given his long-standing connection to the family as well as his own family name and money, to ask for young Princess Shtcherbatsky’s hand in marriage. But he is in love, and to him she is perfect in every way and he is unworthy of her. For two months he stayed in Moscow and attended a whirlwind of social activities because he knew she would be there. He abruptly went back to the country...

(The entire section is 544 words.)